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Individualized Development Plan (IDP)

The Faculty of Graduate Studies' IDP is a tool to assist graduate students in identifying and developing their goals during their studies. It is designed to provide a framework for encouraging active participation among students in professional skills training and career management over the course of their degrees.

The IDP includes a framework that will help to develop a plan for professional skills, but is intended to be supplemented by ongoing consultations with academic supervisors, graduate program directors as well as relevant individuals across the university and beyond. Graduate students that elect to complete an IDP can receive a Certificate of Completion to highlight on their resume/CV.

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Looking back while planning for the future

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Setting Goals
Clarifying the knowledge and skills you need

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Exploring Opportunities
Developing a strategy for realizing your plan

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Acting on your plan to achieve your goals

Download the IDP: Individualized Development Plan.docx

View Examples of a Completed IDP

York University's IDP consists of:

  • A brief overview of the framework for professional skills and competencies at York
  • A self-assessment worksheet for students to reflect on their recent activities and future goals
  • An outline of an IDP that students can complete that will address their goals for the coming year

We recommend revisiting your IDP once a year (if not more frequently) in order to assess the activities and outcomes of the previous months and to revise your plans and expectations for the future.

To help you to complete the self-assessment and engagement, we encourage you to draw on the information and resources available through the Graduate and Postdoctoral Professional Skills (GPPS) webpage. Your Graduate Program Director will also be able to provide further information about professional skills opportunities offered through your program, and your supervisor may also be able to suggest concrete examples of activities and goals that are relevant to your field of study.

*Note: While your IDP can be kept private, the development of the plan is often a collaborative process that draws on the expertise and feedback from supervisors, program directors and others. You may draw on different individuals for different kinds of support. Some may support you in understanding how the skills and knowledge you are acquiring as part of your degree may translate into other contexts. Others may direct you towards resources that may support you in preparing for future careers, or may speak more broadly to strategies for well-being and long-term planning.

Reflecting and reviewing your values, interests and skills is an ideal place to begin a discussion of the kinds of professional skills training needed to supplement your academic programming as well as an important step in identifying potential professional pursuits. There are a number of resources available to graduate students that may help you better understand your goals and priorities, including online tools as well as advising available through Career Education & Development. The IDP is designed to help structure your reflections. It is not intended to be shared or part of any formal consultation, but to provide students with an opportunity for a holistic review of their current experience and future goals.

The self-assessment asks students to reflect on their skills, experiences and goals. It is divided into the same six competency areas into which York professional skills programming is organized.


Career Exploration and Planning




Health and Wellness


Managing Time and Resources


Research Dissemination



A series of questions are provided related to each of these areas with the intention of prompting reflection, although the format of the response is up to you. Not every area may be equally relevant or important to everyone, but we encourage students to explore every area and engage with gaps and areas for improvement as much as strengths and recent successes.

For each of these areas, a series of questions asks you to reflect on your previous experiences as well as future possibilities in relation to the kinds of skills you have already acquired, as well as those you would like to develop for the coming year.

There is a final area that asks students to reflect, in a holistic manner, on their recent experiences and future goals. This may draw on the previous answers of this worksheet, but also to include other thoughts and experiences.

The Graduate & Postdoctoral Professional Skills (GPPS) program is divided into six broad areas to connect you to opportunities and resources that will help you develop your professional plans and goals, and to strategically meet those goals:

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Career Exploration and Planning

  • There exist a variety of versatile career options for those with advanced degrees. Learning the tools required to evaluate career options, and the skills needed to enter those careers, will help you transition from university to the workplace.
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  • An important aspect of the expertise one acquires as part of graduate study or postdoctoral research is the ability to effectively communicate information through writing and other mediums. What are some techniques for improving written and oral communication to professional colleagues or to laypersons?
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Health and Wellness

  • A variety of campus and community services are available to support and enhance the well-being of scholars during one’s academic pursuits.
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Managing Time and Resources

  • It is difficult to balance the demands of life, work and study, but there are strategies that can be used to help manage time more effectively.
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Research Dissemination

  • The importance of research isn’t limited to other scholars. What are the tools and techniques that help translate academic work into other contexts?
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  • The skills learned when leading a classroom are skills that can be relevant in many other contexts, such as public speaking, formulating plans and interpersonal skills.

Graduate students that elect to complete the Faculty of Graduate Studies’ IDP this academic year will be issued a Certification of Completion at the conclusion of the winter term that they may highlight on their resume/CV. Instructions for self-declaration of completion will be communicated to students at the conclusion of the winter term.

Resources and Contact Information

Who can I talk to about my IDP?

Your supervisor is the individual most connected to your research project and their principal task consists of helping you realize your scholarly potential. If your mutual expectations – informed by your Discussion Topics to Inform Productive Supervisory Relationships (Master’s Students, and Doctoral Students) – align with the goals in your IDP, you may consider incorporating some aspects of your IDP into your ongoing conversations and planning. Your Graduate Program Director may also be able to assist in areas considered outside of the scope of your Discussion Topics.

Career Education & Development (CED) offers one-on-one appointments that can help you identify and pursue career paths both inside and outside academe, improve your job search and transition to your professional life. Register on the CED’s online system. If there are no appointments posted that fit your schedule, contact Susan Pogue, Career Counsellor, directly at who will try to accommodate you.

If you do not feel that any of the individuals listed above are most suitable based on your listed goals and/or you would prefer discussing your IDP with the Faculty of Graduate Studies, please contact the Associate Director, Graduate Academic Affairs to discuss further. The Faculty of Graduate Studies can also assist in connecting you with various supports relevant to your individual pursuits.

Graduate Professional Skills Development - A Guide for Faculty Members

Designed for academic supervisors and other faculty mentors seeking a short overview of graduate professional skills programming at York University and to encourage a productive dialogue with supervisees around career planning and exploration.